Thursday, May 7, 2015

IMCA Mods, Sport Mods At Merced Speedway, Late Models, IMCA Sport Mods At Antioch

First of all...

Just A Kid From The Grandstands:  My Time In Auto Racing

Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover

Don's California Racing Recollections:  Best Of The Blog And Beyond

Available via print on demand at Lulu in Hard Cover or Paperback

Also, what could be a series of informative books...

Short Track History Project at Gofundme

Additional info on the Short Track History Project  HERE

The Weekend Preview Edition of The DCRR Racing Radio Show

The Bakersfield Speedway portion of the Bako Motorsports Power Hour Can Be Viewed HERE

The Main Events from Bakersfield Speedway last week are up on and cam be viewed HERE

One of the exciting races from Petaluma Speedway last week, the Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stock Main Event, can be viewed HERE

Tony Karis was on the scene at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville and filed this report with the Register-Pajaronian HERE

A brief race review story I filed with several sources right after the races ended Saturday night at Antioch Speedway can be read HERE

Once again, the Chowchilla News printed our brief race review story from Chowchilla Speedway, which can be read HERE

IMCA Mods, Sport Mods At Merced Speedway,

Word out of Winton is that Ramie Stone is about ready to get his car back.  This would be the car that his cousin Paul Stone won the Merced Speedway championship with last season. After a crash in an open show earlier this year, it needed repairs before Ramie could get his chance to drive it.  It's getting closer, but Ramie is also working to put the funds together to get back out there.

Ramie is a driver who knows how to win in whatever class he competes.  He's earned multiple IMCA Modified championships as well as Street Stock and Mini Truck titles at Merced Speedway.  It's hard to say if sponsorship is the issue here, but if somebody wanted to back a driver who can win at Merced Speedway, they could do a lot worse than Ramie.  Last season, Ramie was a very close second in IMCA Sport Mods, but it's back to the IMCA Modifieds when he eventually returns.

Ronnie Cole is planning to make his season debut in the IMCA Sports Mods.  We've heard rumblings that Tim Prothro may be back soon in his Sport Mod after a hard crash in Turn 4 over a month ago.  Both would be welcome additions to the roster.  Josh Hensley is so far in front now that he could miss a race and still lead the standings.  In fact, Fred Ryland has such a good hold on second after winning last week that he won't lose that position despite racing in Antioch this week.  Dwayne Short is still third despite missing the latest race.

At this point, it's more about winning races than what the points are.  Mark Odgers might be somebody to watch this week after his second place finish last week.  However, Madera has another Enduro race going on Saturday night, and it's possible he and his daughter Marissa will be there with the Enduro car instead.  Mark said going into the season that he is not chasing points but that he would race as scheduling permitted.

Shawn Bryant knows about chasing points as a two time Merced Sport Mod champion, and he made his season debut last week.  Bryant, Gary Tucker and D.C Brown are three others who could be contenders.  Tucker is a feature winner this season, while Brown has finished second once.  Bruce Nelson, Jeremy Hoff, 2014 champion Rick Diaz and Neill Barcellos are others to watch for if they happen to show up.  Car count may be in the 8-12 car range.  It could pop if certain drivers decide this is a week they want to race.

At this point, Buddy Thatcher, Scott Van Gelder and 2014 champion Roy Hart Jr. are the three locals who have competed so far in Limited Late Models, but Mark Garner has won all but one race so far this season.  Garner holds command in the point standings over Thacher and plans to be there on Saturday.  The two Antioch drivers who have made multiple appearances with Mark, Peggy Sue Jarred and John Evans, are both uncertain at this point.  Jarred hasn't raced since blowing a motor at Merced.

It's just possible that Jim Freethy could appear with his new car to dial things in a bit, though this is just speculation.  Jim was second in points last season.  Past Merced champion Larry Damitz has already said that he's focusing on Antioch this season, and Mike Hynes is expected to be in the second David Newquist Late Model at Antioch.  There could be 3-6 cars in action, but it's hard to say who those drivers will be.

Dennis Copus, Kevin Lockerby and Joy Alger have just 12 points separating them in the battle for third in Mini Stock points, but Lockerby has announced that he is going to switch to the pavement of Madera.  Copus has a new car.  He's been driving the #48 car this season.  He had hopes of having the new car there last week, but it wasn't ready yet.  Alger sat the races out last weekend.  She was seen spectating at Chowchilla with Marshall Weaver on Sunday.  It's possible that she will be back to try and regain third and pick up a feature win.

A feature win is just what Chris Corder would like to earn, but he's settled for seconds and thirds at Merced so far.  Corder has been fielding two cars lately, and his other car won the feature two weeks ago with Robert Alger behind the wheel.  With Darren Miguel winning four times already, Chris has seen his lead drop to eight points.  Miguel is gunning for the point lead and is serious enough that he has skipped Chowchilla despite being a feature winner one time there as well.

Considering the damage Alisa Caldwell had to her car at Chowchilla last week, she may not make it, but she could be in a new car soon.  Steve Johnson, Mike Germait and Brian Widdowson seem like possibilities, and you never know when Bay Area residents Kelly Campanile and Natalie Waldrop will show up.  It seems like 8-12 cars is the safe bet as far as what car count may look like.

The wild, crazy and always exciting Hobby Stocks have seen no less than eight winners in nine races.  Last week's race was not pretty, and a few drivers left with damaged race cars.  Kodie Dean saved the damage for his home track in Chowchilla and won the night before at Merced.  That made the second generation racer the eighth winner of the season, but whether he'll have the front end fixed on his car in time for Saturday remains to be seen.

Kevin Joaquin has been hot on the trail of his third win.  The current point leader is coming off of back to back second place finishes, and last week's finish came ahead of second place point runner Jennifer Corder.  Joaquin's lead over the top Hobby Stock rookie Corder is now 44 points.  While people aren't saying Jenifer will be able to challenge Kevin for that point lead, more than a few people think she may be ready for her first feature win in her blue #13 car.

The log jam battle for third finds just 28 points separating the always exciting George Silva, from Ty Shelton, Dexter Long, Kristie Shearer and Shannon Nelson.  Silva's Main Event was a disaster last week, but Shelton ended up disqualified after earlier winning his heat race.  Nelson and Shearer are the two drivers in this group with feature wins, and Shannon's husband Bruce Nelson drove Kristie's car to a win at Chowchilla on Sunday.  One time winner Gary Hildebrand seems to be closing in on this group, but he scratched early at Chowchilla with motor problems last Sunday.  Will he be ready for Saturday?

The list of drivers to have earned points at Merced in this division has topped 50, which means the car count could pop at any time.  Adam Reed made only his second start of the season last week with a fourth place finish and could be a driver to watch this week.  The Josh Hensley car, Bobby Williams and Donald Shearer are others who could be there, and 8-12 cars seems a good guess on car count in this class.

The IMCA Modifieds have the best point battle at the track.  Alex Wilson leads John MacDougall by one point and Bill Egleston by six.  MacDougall finished second to Alex's brother Kyle Wilson last time out as his Cinderella season continues.  The three drivers seem evenly matched, though Egleston is the only one with a division championship at Merced.  Egleston finished second at Chowchilla last week.

Meanwhile, Bob Williamson leads Ricky Thatcher by just two points in the battle for fourth.  It seems a safe bet to assume the Top 5 drivers in the standings will all be in action on Saturday.  Beyond that, it's anybody's guess.  The sixth and seventh ranked drivers, Ryan Porter and Les Friend, have both won Main Events this season and would be factors if they showed up.  Car count has generally stayed at or above ten this season, so a guess of 8-12 cars once again seems fair. 

Nobody in the IMCA Modifieds has been dominant, and that means just about anybody could win the race.  The unpredictability of this division and the Hobby Stocks are two appealing factors for this show.  You just may see another driver win their first Main Event, and you're likely to see some competitive racing.

Late Models, IMCA Sport Mods At Antioch Speedway

Late Models are at Antioch and Bakersfield on Saturday, and there may be a few people with something to say about that.  The reality is that neither track is drawing cars from the other, and fans should be happy that races will be happening for this class anywhere at all.  Looking at his car in the shop during the week, promoter John Soares Jr. can't help but be tempted to strap in and make a run at a feature win.  He knows he has a winning ride.  Who know?  It could happen before the season ends.

Troy Foulger knows the Bowers Racing Late Model is a winner as well after holding off Richard Papenhausen for the victory last time.  In five races, there have been four winners as Foulger, Papenhausen, Jeff Decker and Paul Guglielmoni are the winners at this point.  Papenhausen has won twice, but he and Decker are currently tied for the point lead.  Papenhausen is due for another win, but you never know what will happen on race day.

Foulger has finally moved into third, leading David Newquist and Danny Malfatti by just one point.  Though Troy is expected this week and will be a threat to win, he will be missing races later this season to compete elsewhere in the Bowers Racing Modified.  So, Newquist and Malfatti are the battle for third when Troy steps away.  Newquist is currently second at Chico and led the recent race there for a few laps before falling to fourth.  David can't be too pleased with the way his luck has gone lately at Antioch, but can he turn it around this week?

Dennis Souza didn't let a roll over from two races ago keep him from competing in the last race.  His enthusiasm for this division has been refreshing.  Chester Kniss had more bad luck last time, but it is hoped that he and fellow local Rob Norris will be on hand this week to give it another go.  Others we hope to see include Guglielmoni, Randy Shafer, Rod Arnold and Mike Hynes. We suspect a count in the 8-12 area once again for this race.

Mike Corsaro is quietly creeping into the Dwarf Car championship battle.  Two weeks ago, his second straight Top 3 finish moved him past Adam Teves for third in points.  Well, he won last week, and he did it by taking the lead from point leader Danny Wagner late in the race.  When the points were tallied, Corsaro was shown as 34 points out of the lead, while David Teves is 20 points back in second.  Teves grabbed a third in last week's non stop event from tenth starting, and Corsaro will have to start no better than tenth this week.

Young Adam Teves is 48 points out of the lead and can feel it starting to slip away.  He's 40 points ahead of fifth ranked Jerry Doty.  However, Adam already has one win and he could strike again at any time.    Doty has an 18 point lead over Charlie Correia in the battle for fifth.  Correia had a better finish last time in sixth.  Like his teammate Corsaro, Correia could strike with a win at any time.  One time winner Jack Haverty is just 12 points behind Correia in seventh after his charge from 12th to fifth in last week's race.

The Dwarf Cars have been providing some great racing action for the fans week after week, and this will be their sixth straight week of racing.  We anticipate a field in the 10-14 car range at least, and others to watch for include the rapidly improving Miranda Chappa, Kevin Miraglio, Toby Brown and hard luck racers Thomas Leiby and Tim Reeder.

In the Hobby Stocks, Kimo Oreta appears to have a clear path to his third straight championship.  With one win and three seconds, Oreta holds command in the standings by 80 points over surprise runner up Michael Cooper.  Cooper has posted back to back fifth place finishes and looked good in a second place heat race finish last week.  Michael has ranked fifth for the last two seasons, and he is trying to take it up a notch this season.  He leads two time champion Melissa Myers by 18 points, though it's uncertain whether she will be there this week.

If not, Danny Jones will happily move past her into third.  Jones is also just 43 points behind Cooper, and it's not a long shot to see him take over that position eventually.  Danny was Top 5 in points last season as a feature winner, and he seems poised to win at any time this year.  He has two second place finishes, and he is definitely closing in on that win.  Just 27 points behind Jones in the battle for fourth is rookie Jordan Swank.  Swank won his first heat race last time out before finishing sixth in the feature.  Only 21 points behind Swank for fifth is Frank Furtado.  Frank keeps coming back and racing hard despite some bad luck so far this year.

Jeremy Jennings has said he will be there this week.  Last week, his brother Jason took the wheel and won his second feature of the season.  No word on whether Jason will be in his own car this week, but that seems a good possibility.  Natalie Perry is anticipated as she tries to make a run at a Top 5 finish.  Newcomer Cameron Swank is anticipated, and others to watch for include, Calvin Louis Jr. Robert Niven and Chris Long.  Car count could be in the 8-12 car range for this race.

With each race, Fred Ryland continues to add more points to his lead at Antioch.  The last time the IMCA Sport Mods were at Antioch, it was "Fast Freddy" collecting another win as he rapidly approaches 40 career wins at Antioch.  With 13 wins on the circuit, Ryland continues to lead the national point race.  Only two racers are anywhere near Ryland at Antioch.  Keith Brown Jr. is 23 points back in second and Al Johnson is 26 points behind in third.  Both drivers are anticipated for this race.  Brown has been fast all year, and if it holds together for him, he is due to pick up his first Antioch win of the season.

The five car battle for fourth in the standings is also a good one.  Paul Mulder is holding down the position by a not too comfortable two points ahead of Al Sotomayor.  Just eight points back is rookie Patti Ryland.  Patti has won several heat races this year, and she won her first Main Event in this division two races ago.  Another driver due to win is Chuck Golden.  Chuck is only 12 points out of fourth after winning his heat race and driving to a strong second place finish last time out.  Also in the hunt for fourth is K.C. Keller.  Keller is 16 points back in eighth.

The top 8 drivers are all anticipated for this race, as is Ron Brown.  Two races ago, Ron impressed with a second place finish, but last time was a bit frustrating for the two time Limited Late Model champion.  Ron spun a couple times, but he still grabbed a lead lap checkered flag in sixth in his beautiful yellow #3 car.  We haven't seen the green #22 car of past division runner up Megan Ponciano, and no word on when that might change. 

Rookie Tim Hammett could also be in the field this week, and it's just possible we may see a visitor or two from Marysville.  Among the drivers who could make visits are Jimmy Ford, Alan Furuta and Jason Ferguson.  Car count should be in the 10-14 car range for this race as the drivers who have supported so far have been pretty loyal regulars.

Once again, Merced Speedway will feature IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Northern All Stars Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks on Saturday night.  The Saturday night show at Antioch Speedway will feature the DIRTcar Late Models, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Northern All Stars Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  For more information, check out the official Oval Motorsports Website.

And Furthermore...

Chico Silver Dollar Speedway is back in action on Friday night with an exciting five division show.  On the card this week will be the 410 Sprints, Dirt Modifieds Limited Late Models, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks.  For those keeping track, Chico had a Friday-Saturday double header last week. It was Sean Becker getting the win in 410 Sprints on Friday after a power outage ended the race early.  Ryan McDaniel (Limited Late Models), Tony Richards (Wingless Spec Sprints) and Phil Marino (Street Stocks) were also winners.  The Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial Race for the King Of The West Series on Saturday went to Bud Kaeding, while Terry Schank Jr. won the Spec Sprint portion of the show.

Hanford's Kings Speedway is also having a Friday night race with The King Of Kings 360 Sprint Cars headlining a show with IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Mods.  Last week, Cory Eliason (360 Sprints), Robby Sawyer (IMCA Modifieds), Ricky Childress (IMCA Sport Mods) and Loren DeArmond (IMCA Stock Cars) were the winners.  It's also noteworthy that the IMCA Stock Cars had ten cars for that race.

Also on Friday night, Ocean Speedway in Watsonville roars to life again with the sound of Winged 360 Sprint Cars, IMCA Sport Modifieds, American Stock Cars, Dwarf Cars and Mini Stocks.  Last Friday night's winners werre Justin Sanders (Winged 360 Sprint Cars), Bobby Hogge IV (IMCA Modifieds) Joe Joe Willoughby (American Stocks) and Sean Markley Sr. (Mini Stocks)

Up north at Placerville Speedway, the always exciting Winged 360 Sprint Cars will be headlining a show that also includes the Limited Late Models, Pure Stocks and Nor Cal Dwarf Cars.  Greg DeCaires (Winged 360 Sprint Cars), Ryan McDaniel (Limited Late Models), Jon Tilford (Pure Stocks) and Bobby Michnowicz (BCRA Midget Lites) were the feature winners last Saturday night.

Petaluma Speedway hosts the high powered 410 Sprint Cars of the King Of The West Series as well as IMCA Modifieds and 600 Mini Sprints on Saturday night.  Evan Suggs won the Winged 360 Sprint Car feature last week, while Adam Christian (Wingless Spec Sprints), Steve Studebaker (Super Stocks), Dave Mosier (Dwarf Cars) and Snazzy Duckworth (Mini Stocks) were the other feature winners.

Bakersfield Speedway has Late Models on Saturday night along with the IMCA Sport Modifieds, Mini Stocks and Race Saver Sprint Cars.  Bobby Hogge IV won the IMCA Modified Main Event last week, while Kevin Collier (Hobby Stocks), Roger Welch (American Stocks), Zack Forester (Mod Lites), Troy Morris III (Sr. Mini Dwarfs) and Mason Ratcliff (Jr. Mini Dwarf Cars) were the other winners.

Rocky Hill Speedway in Porterville is doing back to back weekends with Mini Stocks, Super 4 Minis, Hobby Stocks, American Stocks and a Mechanic's Race on the card this Saturday night.  Jared Plumlee (Mini Stocks), Chuck Nevels (Super 4 Minis) and Raymond Noland Jr. (Hobby Stocks) were last week's winners.

Marysville Raceway will race on Saturday night with Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks and Pro 4 SprintsSanta Maria Speedway has 360 Sprints, CDCRA Dwarf Cars, California Lightning Sprints, Hobby Stocks and Mini StocksDiamond Mountain Speedway in Susanville kicks off their season with Mini Stocks, Hobby Stocks and IMCA Modifieds on the card Saturday night.

You can take your pick of All American Speedway in Roseville, Ukiah Speedway or Madera Speedway for pavement action on Saturday night.  Ukiah has Bombers, Jammers and Mini Stocks.  Roseville has Street Stocks, Bombers, Pro-4 Modifieds and Mini Cups.  Madera features the Madera Late Models, SouthWest Tour Trucks, Madera Hobby Stocks, MST's, Toyota Sedans, 4-Bangers and an Enduro Championship 100 lap Sprint Race.  Basically, there are lots of great options for the race fan to choose from.